Tribal man lynching: Kerala HC suo motu initiates proceedings

The Kerala High court today initiated proceedings on its own on the recent lynching of a tribal man for allegedly stealing food at Attappady in Palakkad district and directed the state government to file its response within 15 days.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Sheshadri Naidu issued directions in this regard.

The proceedings were initiated on the basis of a letter written by Justice Surendra Mohan to the chief justice stating that the incident was a "blot" on the society and an "eye opener" to the atrocities on tribals by other members of the society.

"We are all forced to hang our heads in shame that such an incident has taken place in our state that boasts of 100 per cent literacy," the letter stated.

The court also appointed advocate Deepak as amicus curiae in the case.

In his letter, Justice Mohan said the incident was a "sad reflection" of the decline in the moral values of Kerala society that projects itself the most literate state in the country.

He said according to reports, the victim was beaten up on the allegation that he had stolen a small quantity of rice.

"There are a number of schemes for the welfare of tribals being implemented by state agencies. There are also various poverty alleviation programmes that are being implemented in the state by other organisations," the letter stated.

"If the victim, Madhu, had been forced to steal rice because he had nothing to eat, it shows that the schemes that are being implemented are not reaching the needy," he said.

"It is necessary to revamp our implementation procedures to ensure that the schemes reach beneficiaries."

Madhu was said to be mentally ill and the gravity of the situation was aggravated further in addition to the culpability of the crime, the letter stated.

"That he was attacked and lynched by a mob that showed scant respect for the law, requires to be taken serious note by this court. The fact that there has been a serious lapse on the part of law enforcement agencies cannot be disputed," the judge said.

Madhu was allegedly beaten to death by local people who accused him of stealing food articles from some shops at forest-fringe town Agali near Palakkad on February 22.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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